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Arts & Entertainment

Three-piece suit returns in style

| Monday, Sept. 24, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A three-piece suit requires equal parts style and confidence. Too little of either, and you run the risk of looking like you're playing a gangster in a high school play.

"It's a more refined, nostalgic look," says modern-day dandy Cameron Silver, owner of the Hollywood vintage boutique Decades. "But designers recently saw it as an opportunity to make suits a bit more luxurious. Plus, it's something new in menswear -- where things don't change too often."

The style, long favored in England's Savile Row and by European fashion houses, was prominent in the fall collections of perennial American designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan and John Varvatos. The modernity comes by way of simple patterns, refined fabrics and a lean, more streamlined fit.

Silver suggests those suiting themselves for cool days and hot offices (or vice versa) can shed the jacket and simply don the vest. Or split the suit up into a blazer, trousers and waistcoat for a week's worth of polished options.

"My fashion mantra has always been, 'Would Cary Grant wear this?'" he says. "And with these, I think, yeah, of course he would."

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